Sidemen: Long Road to Glory': Film Review

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:27 pm
Scott Rosenbaum’s documentary profiling three legendary blues musicians arrives too late. The film chronicles the lives and careers of Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who all passed away in 2011. That, as well as the onscreen interviews with deceased musicians such as Gregg Allman and Johnny Winter, lends an undeniable elegiac quality to Sidemen: Long Road to Glory. The film should prove catnip to music lovers, especially blues fans.

None of the three subjects are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but as the film makes abundantly clear, they should be. Sumlin was a pioneering guitarist who provided indelible riffs to the music of Howlin’ Wolf, while Perkins and Smith played piano and drums respectively for Muddy Waters, among many other musicians. All three men’s careers lasted into their eighties and nineties, and while they earned the love and respect of both their peers and the many younger players whom they influenced, they never earned the fame and fortune of the performers for whom they served as sidemen.

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